Wednesday, May 30, 2007

Important Announcement

Two of my good friends are making a trip out to San Francisco next week. I mean, they are moving there, can you believe it???

I think they are leaving Monday, but I have no idea how long it takes to get across the entire nation. I would say at least 2 days, possibly more. Dis-ir-regardless, they are going to keep a blag of their journeys, with photos, perhaps!

Safe travels, guys!

Monday, May 28, 2007

Dear Newt

I have received many letters from you, my readers. I will attempt to answer them all, but please bear with me.

The Taste of Water

Dear Newt,

Why does water taste better straight out of the garden hose?

Yours truly,
Joaquin V.

Dear Joaquin,

Well, quite simply, our unconscious brains associate a hose with such pleasant activities as watering the garden or filling balloons and squirt guns and other fun stuff like that. For this reason, the water itself contains the cool, cool sparkling magic of summer. When you sip from that garden hose, you are unknowingly sipping from that same draught of life that feeds all of the matter of the universe. That is why it tastes better.

The Dancing Newt


Dear Newt,

I've read your blag ever since the beginning, and I have to say you're one of the wisest, most awesome people I've ever known. So I have a tough question for you.

I was working in the garden the other day, watering the pea plants.The previous day, my brother and I set up some stakes with a wire for the plants to cling to as they grew. I noticed that a few of the plants had already sent out little stalks that were wrapped tightly around the wire. So I was wondering, how does a pea plant know to wrap its little tendrils around something? Can it feel that it is there?

Cathy P.
Dear Cathy,

Why thank you. I am flattered. I appreciate your continued readership. It gives me endless pleasure to know that these words do not merely fall into the void of the world's gaping mouth.
As for your question, you are exactly correct. But there is more. While it is true that a pea plant can "feel" that the stake or wire or whatever is there, it is not in the way that you or I feel that a physical object is present. We use our sense of touch. The pea plant feels with the fingers of the universe. That is, the universe can sense a greater presence; it can sense the existence of matter; it can sense our happiness or sadness, our anger or excitement.

Likewise, the pea plant, whose role is to usher in new life (and also juicy pods filled with plump, sweet nibbles), is an extension of this greater power. The pea plant "feels" that the stakes are there, "feels" the warmth of the sun and pulls itself upward to continue the greater pattern of growth, life, and rebirth.

Best regards,
The Dancing Newt

About Newt

Dear Newt,

How old are you? Also, what is your favorite color?

Jake R.
Dear Jake,

I am older than the wind and the sea. I am younger than a newborn babe. I dance on the wings of time, and I float on the current of the years. I know! Can you believe it?

My favorite color. That is an easy one. The color of children's laughter. I assume you know what color that is.

The Dancing Newt

New Ideas

Dear Newt,

When I learn something new, where does it go? How does my brain know it is there?

Kimmie J.
Dear Kimmie,

Well, have you ever heard anyone say that the universe is expanding? Every time anybody learns to do something new or has a new idea, the universe grows a tiny bit. So, as we all learn new ideas, they become a part of the universe, which we can tap into by relaxing and feeling its presence. And when people get old and die, everything they ever knew gets released into the air, into the streams, into the soil and floats around out there, becoming the substance of dreams for the following generations. Hope that clarifies everything for you.

all the best,
The Dancing Newt

Sunday, May 27, 2007

Yo I'm on Fire!!!

Dude, let's all take a moment appreciate Beethoven's Ninth Symphony. Especially that fourth movement. And while we're at it, let's appreciate these beautiful lyrics based from the poem by Friedrich Schiller:

Freude, schöner Götterfunken (Joy, beauteous spark of divinity)
Tochter aus Elysium, (Daughter of Elysium)
Wir betreten feuertrunken, (We enter drunk with fire)
Himmlische, dein Heiligtum! (Heavenly One, your sanctuary!)

Deine Zauber binden wieder (Thy magic power reunites)
Was die Mode streng geteilt; (All that custom has strictly divided)
Alle menschen werden Brüder, (All men become brothers)
Wo dein sanfter Flügel weilt. (Where your gentle wing abides.)

Thursday, May 17, 2007

In The Dark of the Night

A bitty treat for all of my little Don Bluth fans.

I simply cannot get over how marvelous this song is. I am especially thrilled by the harmonizing beetles and the wailing of electric guitars.

(doom her)

p.s. don't you like how I learned to embed videos?

Tuesday, May 15, 2007

The Days...

...have been altogether pleasant. Pleasant, with an undercurrent of quiet sadness.

Monday, May 14, 2007

Newt vs. le Savoir Faire


I was pinning up my laundry on the porch and noticed a number of... how do I say this... artistic individuals dressed to the nines and congregating outside the Alumni House (which is across the street from my apartment). More and more of them filtered in, smoking cigars and wearing their berets and suitvests/long patterned dresses. I felt a bit bad that they would have to emerge from their little party to see my multi-colored underwear swinging shamelessly in the breeze there, but then I realized they'd probably actually really appreciate the vulgarity... the very bourgeois-ness** of the situation. So I kept pinning until the basket was empty and then went back inside.

I never said it was a good story.

*Photo courtesy of Miss Schneider. Yep, she actually had a photo of my underwear hanging on the porch.
**apologies for not knowing the proper French nominalization.

Thursday, May 10, 2007

a storm on the way

Oooh it is thundery out. It is rainy and the sky sizzles with flashes of lightning. Somehow its energy is captured into my blood, zipping through my veins. I turned down rides from two different people so I could splash around in my flip-flops on the way to another group meeting… It is the last one I'll ever have to attend. Okay I lied. The second to last one. But that doesn't even bother me because I got to play in the puddles on the way there.

I saw the clouds rolling in this afternoon, and I knew something was coming. As I went into my final exam at 3:00 PM, the sky was still somewhat sunny. But when I emerged again at six, it had begun to get overcast. By the time the dusk approached, you could hear the deep ripples of thunder beyond the horizon.

On the way to the meeting, I passed my downstairs neighbors smoking on the porch. "Great weather, huh?" They chuckled.

The meeting only lasted 1/2 hour and then I was out in the storm again.

Annnd now my roommates just returned with amazing junkfood (CC Potato Chips and Newman Os) for me to eat because it is my last all-nighter everrrrr in my whole college careerrrrrr!

Here, have some song lyrics (courtesy of Gnarls Barkley):

There's truth in the thunder

Love in the lightning
The feeling is frightening
Yet, isn't it exciting?
I'm something like stormy weather
If I weren't we'd never huddle together
Do I have to tell you
that I'm also the sunlight
that shines shortly after?

...only my favoritest song right now.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

A Very Bad Idea:

Putting an opened can of Sprite in the water bottle holder on my bicycle.

Monday, May 7, 2007

The Beautiful World Paradox

I go back and forth between seeing the world as amazingly beautiful and depressingly sad.

In this interfaith women’s study group I’ve been attending, the discussion leader guides us through meditations/ visualizations at the end of each session. During this last one she gave us a few moments once we had reached that peaceful state, to look inside ourselves to discover what we had been unable to hear or understand previously. The following image came to me:

I was climbing up steep stone stairs. I was walking alongside my Lord. This was clearly a metaphor for life, but where were we going? We kept walking and walking. There seemed to be no destination in sight. I realized I had been going for years now. I was starting to wonder why. But then I realized my legs had become so much stronger. Finally I saw someone I recognized. I invited my friend to join us. I helped when he stumbled at the beginning.

And something was growing inside of us. It had started as just a little glow… but when the friend joined, it became a little brighter. We passed more people and invited them to join. We laughed. We helped each other when we grew tired. Each time somebody joined the group, everyone’s light grew a little brighter. Gradually the path seemed to flatten out (or maybe it just seemed easier?) And I realized there was no destination, was no heaven. Or the destination was in the journey itself or something. Maybe Belinda Carlisle was right (if you know what that’s worth): heaven is a place on earth?

That is a beautiful idea and all, but it’s not so easy to implement. I was taking the bus this morning like I do every week, and as often happens, I saw so many people’s struggles, so much stuff that I’ve never had to deal with personally. My heart breaks every time. I just don’t understand why some people have it so hard and why for others, life goes so smoothly. I don’t deserve my life any more than the young woman with the chubby-cheeked little boy deserves her cheating, sleazy husband or the guy in the wheelchair deserves to not be able to run with the breeze. And I actually felt pretty wretched.

This woman at church works at an orphanage. She described the lives of the children. They have been abused; many of them don’t even know their parents anymore. They have lost all reason to trust anyone anymore. It probably wouldn’t take much from a caring adult to make a difference. And there are so many other people who could use a little love. And the thing is I have love to give. I am just scared to share my love with strangers. So often I just sit by and do nothing. Maybe I think people will be insulted? Maybe I am lazy? Maybe both and something else too? I do not know.

Maybe the challenge is to see the world as beautiful and sad at the same time... or beautiful in spite of the sadness. Sad enough to feel the need to reach out in love, beautiful enough for hope?

Sunday, May 6, 2007

What made my day:

  1. Getting promotional pens from the guest speaker
  2. Discovering that the grippy part comes off and if you stick your pinky finger in it it feels really weird... the blood pressure builds up as though it's going to explode (your finger I mean)
  3. Telling my two friends in my project group about this sensation
  4. Watching as they actually try to replicate it...

Seriously, why do people listen to me?

Saturday, May 5, 2007

Grown-up Eating

Here's something I wrote some time around 2:00 AM Thursday:
Since I have two huge projects due tomorrow and my roommates are out of the picture (gone for the weekend/asleep, like all of the other normal people I know) so I can't bother them, I thought I'd write a new post...

I'm pretty sure I am losing my taste. Okay, some would argue I never had taste to begin with. And they'd be correct. But I'm not referring to my lack of appreciation for the more sophisticated things of life, here. I am talking about my actual taste buds... aging.

I think they are becoming less sensitive. Yesterday Lauren made pumpkin bread from a prepared mix. It was mildly flavored with cinnamon and nutmeg and stuff. I thought it was pretty good. But Jakki didn't like it because it had too many spices. I hardly noticed them...

Chinese food? Not spicey at all. My orange tofu had a chili pepper next to it on the menu. Tasted pretty bland to me. Lemonade? Required me to add more water and some pure lemon juice to the bottle so I didn't feel like I was drinking sugar water. Sour Patch Kids? They taste like Swedish Fish. And my mom has started getting annoyed because apparently I add red pepper flakes to everything...

So clearly I have much lower thresholds for certain tastes than I used to. The only thing that gives me hope is that my little bud-a-roos are actually MORE sensitive to two flavors: sugar and salt. If anything, I thought the pumpkin bread was too sweet. Same with the orange tofu. And salty is even worse. Corn chips! Wheat Thins! I have to brush the thick layer of salt from the surface before it goes in my mouth or it will taste awful, like I am swallowing seawater... crunchy, whole-grain seawater. I even found myself picking small crystals off of pretzel sticks with my fingernail the other day.

My tongue is becoming gustatorily polarized!

Oh well. At least I still like butter.

Wednesday, May 2, 2007


Jakki just informed me yesterday morning that she's going to start moving out at the end of this week. That means graduation really is coming soon. She got some used cardboard boxes and when I came home, they were filled with her clothes, taped shut, and stacked up in the living room.

And here's the thing: I don't want to graduate. I don't want things to change! I mean, I'm looking forward to my new job, but I hate it when periods of my life come to a conclusion. I hate saying goodbye to people, places, and things (to nouns, I guess?). Especially to the people.

I was in my bed last night doing some work and Lauren sailed into my room, completely frustrated about something. I scooted over a little and she hopped in the bed. A few minutes later Jakki appeared at the door, groggy-eyed in her fuzzy flannel pjs. She couldn't sleep. I shoved my work aside, and she joined us, draping herself at the foot of the bed. We all just loafed for awhile: making silly jokes, discussing hypotheticals, and simply enjoying each other's presence. Gosh there is so much I'm going to miss...